President Robert Mugabe has resigned, halting impeachment procedures that had started to out despot.
Speaker of Parliament in Zimbabwe Jacob Mudenda read a letter purportedly written by Mugabe, bringing an end to the 37-year rule.
Mugabe says he has resigned voluntarily to pave way for a smooth transition of power.
“My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire for a smooth, non-violent transfer of power,” said Mugabe in the letter.
The streets of Harare erupted in celebration after Mr Mugabe’s resignation was announced during a joint session of both houses of the Zimbabwean parliament that had gathered to launch impeachment proceedings.
Meanwhile, the ruling Zanu-PF party which had expelled Mugabe as its leader has picked Emmerson Mnangagwa as successor. Mnangagwa was fired by Mugabe to pave way for his wife, Grace Mugabe, to succeed him.
Mnangagwa’s sacking successfully triggered the ripple effect that has ended with Mr. Mugabe throwing in the towel.
I am so emotional. I never thought I would see this day. Mugabe has resigned in my lifetime. This is a stepping stone towards the Zimbabwe we want. It won't be easy. #Zimbabwe
— Trevor Ncube (@TrevorNcube) November 21, 2017
The army had staged what commentators had described as a soft coup, backing Mnangagwa while demanding Mugabe to resign who was the world’s oldest leader at 93.
After the resignation announcement, lawmakers roared in jubilation.
Responding to the news that Robert Mugabe has resigned as President of Zimbabwe, Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International said post-Mugabe government must open new chapter of respect for rights.
“After more than three decades of violent repression, the way forward for the country is to renounce the abuses of the past and transition into a new era where the rule of law is respected and those who are responsible for injustices are held to account” said Shetty.
Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in 1980 after the country gained independence from the United Kingdom. He officially became the President of Zimbabwe in 1987 and he has ruled the country unchallenged since then.
According to Amnesty, tens of thousands of people were tortured, forcibly disappeared or killed during the 37 years of President Mugabe’s leadership.
“The next generation of leaders must commit itself to upholding the constitution, living up to Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations and treating its people with dignity and justice.” added Shetty.
Ironically, Mnangagwa who is nicknamed the Crocodile was deeply involved in most of the alleged crimes as he was Mugabe’s right hand man.